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UK Work Visa Government fees

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UK Work Visa Fee Sections:

We provide an analysis below of various UK Government fees for a sponsor licence and UK work visa.  Please note that there were significant changes to the UK visa points based system on 1 December 2020.  The Tier 2 General visa has been replaced by the Skilled Worker visa scheme, which in many ways is very similar.  The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa has been replaced by the Intra-Company Transfer visa, which is also similar to the previous scheme.  The Government has decided to remove "Tier" in the name of various UK visa categories.

The Government fees to employ just one person without any family members can be considerable.  There is the UK visa fee and Certificate of Sponsorship fee.  On top of this in many cases there is the annual Immigration Health Surcharge and Immigration Skills Charge, both of which need to be paid in advance for the duration of the visa. There are a few exemptions to the Immigration Health Surcharge and Immigration Skills Charge requirement.  For example, students meeting the relevant eligibility requirements, who are applying to remain in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa are exempt from the Immigration Skills Charge.  Those who come under the Health and Care visa do not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

As an example, the fees for a small company that needs to apply for a Sponsor Licence and wishes to employ one person, who is not on the Shortage Occupation List and is currently living abroad, for a five year visa the total cost may be about £7,000.  If it is a small employer that already has a Sponsor Licence and so has already paid the sponsor licence application fee, this will not need to be paid again, so reducing the cost by £536.  Some fees such as the Skilled Worker visa fee and Health Surcharge may be paid by either the employee or the employer.

Sponsor Licence Fee:

Before being able to sponsor migrant workers the employer will need to have a sponsor licence.  Please see small company requirements below to come under the much lower fee scale for Sponsor Licence Fee and Immigration Skills Charge.

Small Company or Charity: £536

Larger Company: £1476

Payable on submission of the online Sponsor Licence application.   Documents for Sponsor Licence applications can currently be sent to the Home Office via email.  You then have five working days to email the documents, or send the original or certified documents to UK Visa and Immigration by post or courier.  Processing time will probably take from about two weeks to two months.  This is usually valid for four years to enable the employer to employ multiple employees under the Skilled Worker visa on Intra-Company Transfer visa schemes.


Certificate of Sponsorship Fee: £199

This is paid for the main applicant by the employer when you are ready to assign the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).   To be able to do this the employer needs to already have a Sponsor Licence.  You need to either have undefined CoSs or defined CoSs available.  Undefined CoSs are needed for Skilled Worker visa applicants who can apply to remain from within the UK and for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa applicants.  Defined CoSs in most cases are required to employ people living outside the UK who are Skilled Worker visa applicants.  Usually assigning the CoS online happens immediately.  If you have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge this is paid for at the same time as assigning the CoS.


Immigration Skills Charge Fee:

If relevant, this is paid when assigning the Certificate of Sponsorship. The fees vary depending on the size of the company.  Please see below.

Smaller businesses or charitable organisations: £364 per year.

Medium to large businesses: £1000 per year.

Paid in advance for the duration of the visa.  Refundable on a pro-rata basis if the person leaves.

The Immigration Skills Charge does not apply in any of the following situations:

  • Student visa holders switching to a Skilled Worker visa or Intra-Company Transfer visa.
  • Intra-company Transfer Graduate Trainee visa applicants.
  • Those who were previously on a Tier 2 visa on or before 6 April 2017 who wish to extend or switch employer.
  • If employment in the UK is for six months or less.
  • If the employment is in one of the following occupations:
    • chemical scientists (2111)
    • biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
    • physical scientists (2113)
    • social and humanities scientists (2114)
    • natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified (2119)
    • research and development managers (2150)
    • higher education teaching professionals (2311)
    • clergy (2444)
    • sports players (3441)
    • sports coaches, instructors or officials (3442)

Health Surcharge Fee: £624 per year.

This fee needs to be paid for the main UK visa applicant and the spouse and each dependent when applying for the Skilled Worker visa.  This has been considered to be quite controversial as migrants or their employer are in effect being asked to pay twice.  Taxes while in the UK are being used to fund the NHS.  On top of this there is this health surcharge.  This does not apply if applying for a Health and Care visa or applying for indefinite leave to remain.

Paid in advance for the duration of the visa.  Refundable on a pro rata basis if the person leaves.

 

UK Government Fee small company requirements

If you meet the requirements below the Government fees for the Sponsor Licence fee and Immigration Skills Charge comes under the lower fee scale.  The text below is taken from UK legislation.

(3)The qualifying conditions are met by a company in a year in which it satisfies two or more of the following requirements—

1. Turnover        [F4Not more than £10.2 million]

2. Balance sheet total     [F5Not more than 5.1 million]

3. Number of employees              Not more than 50

 

Work Visa Fee Points based system - applications made outside the UK

Once the CoS has been assigned by the employer you can then apply for a UK visa.

Fees categoryCurrent Fee
Skilled Worker, Intra-Company Transfer - Long Term Staff, Sportsperson & Minister of Religion, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of three years or less£610
Intra-Company Transfer - Graduate Trainee£482
Skilled Worker, Intra-Company Transfer - Long Term Staff, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of between three years and five years.£1,220
Skilled Worker shortage occupation where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of three years or less£464
Skilled Worker shortage occupation where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of between three years and five years.£928

 


Work Visa Fee Points based system - applications made within the UK

As above, once the CoS has been assigned you can apply for a UK visa.

Fees categoryCurrent Fee
Skilled Worker, Intra-Company Transfer - Long Term Staff, Sportsperson & Minister of Religion, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of three years or less£704
Intra-Company Transfer - Graduate Trainee£445
Skilled Worker, Intra-Company Transfer - Long Term Staff, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of between three years and five years.£1,408
Skilled Worker shortage occupation where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of three years or less£464
Skilled Worker shortage occupation where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for a period of between three years and five years.£928